Library Checkout: August 2018

After I got back from America the library pile started out tiny and gradually grew bigger as I added on more reservations for books I’d forgotten about or saw were on order.


  • To the Is-Land: An Autobiography by Janet Frame 
  • Less by Andrew Sean Greer 
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell 



  • Madame Zero by Sarah Hall
  • Taking Mesopotamia by Jenny Lewis [poetry]
  • The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers by Adam Nicolson
  • You Left Too Early: A True Story of Love and Alcohol by Louisa Young

CURRENTLY READING-ish (set aside temporarily)

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


  • Happiness by Aminatta Forna
  • The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
  • The Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn [I plan to read only the second volume, Bad News]
  • First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story about Anxiety by Sarah Wilson

These university library books have been hanging around for a loooooooooooong time, and most likely will continue to do so for months to come:

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • The Cabaret of Plants: Botany and the Imagination by Richard Mabey
  • The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton


  • A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
  • French Exit by Patrick deWitt
  • All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison
  • Pages & Co by Anna James
  • The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson
  • Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller
  • Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
  • Rosie: Scenes from a Vanished Life by Rose Tremain



  • The Stopping Places: A Journey through Gypsy Britain by Damian Le Bas – I lost interest and the first few pages didn’t grab me.

What have you been reading from your local libraries? Does anything appeal from my stacks?


(If youre participating in Library Checkout this month, use the link below to add your post via Inlinkz.)

30 responses

  1. I spy several treats in your reservation queue: Ghost Wall, French Exit, All Among the Barley, And Now We Shall Be Entirely Free. I also remember enjoying the Chabon very much and was recommended the Magnusson by a friend whose opinion I trust this weekend. Happy reading!


    1. You whetted my appetite for a number of those with your reviews and Twitter photos! I’m looking forward to them all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My recent reads have been Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales – great if you were a fairy tale addict as a child; Margaret Atwood’s Hagseed – the first Atwood I’ve ever enjoyed (hides behind bookshelf as this is such an unpopular view) and for a quality holiday read, Graham Hurley’s The Order of Things. Only three library books in as many weeks. Shocking.


    1. Oh, Hagseed was wonderful indeed! Have you read The Blind Assassin? That’s my favourite Atwood. A lot of her books are 3-star reads for me, with just a few standing out. But then again, I haven’t gone back to read a lot of the 1970s/80s classics.


  3. I read “Bloodsworth” by Tim Junkin, a lawyer. Excellent. True crime. The story of Kirk Bloodsworth, the 1st death row inmate, a Maryland native, ever to be exonerated by DNA evidence. He was imprisoned for 9 years. This was a One Maryland, One Book selection. All MD public library book clubs read this book for Sept. I have changed my stand on capital punishment because of this book.

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. That’s wonderful news! I hadn’t heard of the One MD, One Book program, but I’m so glad you got involved. Dead Man Walking (the movie and the book by Sister Helen Prejean) was what changed my view on capital punishment back in 2004.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was an amazing story! I hope more readers discover books like this. It’s truly shocking how many cases are being explored via The Innocence Project, in America alone, but around the world.


  4. August hasn’t been a great month for me, but July was pretty good, thanks to two back-to-back readathons.

    Here is a link to my Library Checkout post (unfortunately the link above didn’t work for me):


    1. I had trouble figuring out Inlinkz this month; it could be that my free trial expired. Thanks for taking part!


  5. I have a lot of library activity going on these days, with all the good new books coming in. It’s hard to keep up! It would be a great month to do one of these posts, but I’m also WAY behind on writing about the books I’ve read, so it probably won’t happen.
    I’m very curious to know what you’ll think of A Ladder to the Sky and French Exit. Also, I’ve been eyeing Less by Greer at the library, but maybe I’ll hold off until my library stack dwindles a bit. Have you read any of his other books?


    1. This was my first book by Greer. I wasn’t all that impressed considering it won the Pulitzer! But then again, humour is so subjective. I own another of his books, The Story of a Marriage — perfect for your Literary Wives club?

      I wasn’t so keen on deWitt’s last book, but I’m hoping for a return to form. This will only be my second book by Boyne. I don’t expect to love it as much as The Heart’s Invisible Furies, especially because I think it will be a very different book, but I’m interested to see his range.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m looking forward to reading Now we Shall be Completely Free also. I’m told that if you like a Patrick Melrose novel, it’s hard to stop…..


    1. I was lukewarm on the first one, Never Mind. There’s a certain nastiness to the tone and subject matter. But I want to read the second because of its addiction theme. After that, we shall see…


  7. Your reservation queue looks fabulous. Shame about Damian Le Bas’s book, although I’m definitely in sympathy with you – I might not have finished it if I hadn’t been reading it for 20 BoS, not because it’s bad but because he does seem to hold the reader at arm’s length for much of it.


    1. I was remembering your lukewarm review and thought, can I bothered to read 300+ pages on this? I decided not.

      You and Susan have fueled much of that reservation queue 😉


      1. Hahahaha, my work here is done!


  8. Now everyone in the world has read and loved The Sparrow. Time to put that on my TBR!


    1. I usually can’t cope with sci-fi, but this was wonderful. It’s more about human nature and destiny, and whether God is watching out for us, than it is about aliens and distant planets. (The same could be said of Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things, to which it bears some similarities.) There’s also a sequel I’m going to try to find soon.


  9. I’ve heard good things about Less. A Ladder to the Sky is great fun. I enjoyed it a lot. And I’m looking forward to French Exit.


    1. Good to have your vote for the new Boyne.


  10. French Exit looks interesting to me. I look forward to your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t actually have much idea of what it’s about, but I liked The Sisters Brothers enough to try everything deWitt writes.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yay: you finally finished Janet Frame and loved it! Those poor uni library books – endlessly waiting.

    I’d like to read Happiness from your list and more of her work in general. I’ve heard a few interviews and been very impressed, but I haven’t yet made reading time for them (they’re all kinda long, just a little longer than the average, y’know?).

    Although I’ve reduced my stack considerably since the last heat wave (libraries are cooling centres here, so I stock up on books when I’m browsing to stay cool), the new fall books are starting to come in and that’s going to be deadly for my reading plans. But I knew that was coming and did try to finish some of my goals for 2018 before hand, with that in mind. Still, I suspect I’ll be scrambling a little as the prizelists start to be announced over here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely loved Frame’s memoir. I’m going to have to get out more of the autobiographical volumes and some novels — I think the university library has a good number of her books.

      This will be my first by Forna; if I like it I’d consider going back to her backlist, but it’s not a priority.

      I’ve just placed holds on a load of Booker-longlisted titles that my library system has belatedly ordered. I doubt I’ll get to many of them before the prize announcement, let alone the shortlisting, but I’m interested in most of them anyway.


      1. There’s the film about Frame as well, maybe one of Jane Campion’s? I can’t remember that part for sure.

        The timing can be so tricky with holds. I’m always very optimistic when placing them and, maybe if they all arrived the very next day, things might proceed (more?) as planned, but just a week later the entire reading landscape can change, and a couple dozen other titles also now urgently *snorts* interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Ooh, good to know about the film. I wonder how I’d ever get hold of that…

      I’m now up to my maximum of holds (15) after remembering there’s a new Murakami out soon.


      1. It’s probably available through library systems (it’s considered a classic now).
        In our libraries, you can arrange to reserve the equipment to watch a film in the library.
        But I’m thinking you’d have to really WANT to see a film to do that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. […] Checkout is a fun meme celebrating library usage coordinated by Bookish Beck – check out her blog! This month, as usual, I’ve been checking things out and putting […]


  13. […] I’m linking up with Rebecca and her Library Checkout meme! Go check out her post for lots of great ideas to pick up at the […]


  14. I only managed to read one book over the summer. Bookworm Nerd Fail, LoL. I read You by Caroline Kepnes, in anticipation of the Lifetime series. Reading the sequel now. I tend to read books that get adapted most of the time, LoL.


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